A guy with a pint of hooch in his back pocket was stumbling and struggling to make it across street toward Famous Pizza. After he made it across the street, he paused for a moment and leaned up against pizza joint. As I watched the poor guy, it reminded me of an important thing to keep in mind at these sorts of things: Pacing. Whether you're on your way to getting fall-down drunk or just seeing a ton of bands, too much too soon can sometimes be downright hazardous.
So for the first night of the UMS, I figured it was probably a good idea to ease into things by checking out the Swayback, a band I've seen many times, at 3 Kings Tavern. Playing to a nearly packed room, the band sounded tight and polished, driving through solid cuts like "Forewarned" and their latest single, "Die Finks." The guys made it clear that they've got the skills to play on the same bill as Stone Temple Pilots, Wolfmother and Eagles of Death Metal at Sturgis next month.
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After Swayback's set, we headed a few a blocks south to the Skylark Lounge to see Candy Claws, who unfortunately, lost all of its gear in a car fire while touring on the East Coast about two weeks ago. The Fort Collins-based act, whose back home for a few days before heading to the West Coast, packed the tiny Skylark stage, and delivered a pretty rad set.
Hidden Lands, Candy Claws' follow-up to In the Dream of the Sea Life, is slated for release on August 3 on the Brooklyn-based twosyllable imprint, and will be issued locally at a CD release show on Friday, August 6 at the hi-dive.
While watching Candy Claws, who's been getting some Pitchfork love recently, I wondered why the hell it took me so long to finally see the group. I was thinking the same thing when I saw Roger, Roll who came on after Candy Claws. Fronted by Eric Peterson, the group played an absolutely gorgeous set of pop backed up by three string players, a drummer, guitarist and Hello Kavita's Cory Teruya on bass.
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While going from the tranquil beauty of Roger, Roll to the stoner rock of Kindgom of Magic at the 3 Kings was a bit jarring at first, it didn't take long to get absorbed in it all. Whether he's fronting Git Some or Kingdom, Luke Fairchild is one of the city's most energetic frontman. With drummer Andrew Lindstrom, who also plays in Git Some, pounding out thunderous beats, Joe Ramirez laying down the low end, Kingdom of Magic waded through some thick, sludge, but man, it was fucking beautiful.